Tired of Saag? Make These 4 Kashmiri Haak With Leafy Greens

Seasons leafy greens are key to a healthy summer diet. However, if you’re bored of tried-and-tested recipes like sarson saag, methi saag or chana saag, explore the many haak recipes that are popular in Kashmiri Pandit cuisine. Traditionally, haak is cooked with seasonal leafy greens like collard greens and uses minimal spices to let the natural taste of the greens shine through. 

Commonly, it is boiled or sautéed with mustard oil, seasoned with asafoetida (hing), dried red chillies, and salt. The key to cooking haak perfectly is to ensure it remains tender yet retains a slight crunch. Overcooking can lead to a loss of its vibrant green colour and nutritional value. Here are some haak recipes you can try this summer.

Woste Haak 

Kashmiri Wosta Haakh is made with red spinach, known for its vibrant colour and distinct flavour. With its tender leaves and slightly earthy taste, it complements the robust flavours typical of Kashmiri cuisine. The preparation process remains faithful to the traditional methods, ensuring that the essence of the leafy green is preserved. This flavorful and nutritious dish showcases the natural muted sweetness of the spinach, balanced by the slight bitterness of the greens and the aromatic spices. This haak is traditionally served with steamed rice.

Methi haak

Methi Haak showcases the unique flavours of fenugreek greens in a simple yet delicious manner. This dish is a part of the rich Kashmiri culinary tradition, which often emphasizes the use of fresh, local ingredients and straightforward cooking techniques to create flavorful and nutritious meals. 

In Methi Haak, the slightly bitter taste of fenugreek leaves is beautifully balanced with the subtle flavours of Kashmiri spices. The dish typically features a tempering of mustard oil, which is a staple in Kashmiri cuisine, adding a distinctive pungency and depth. Aromatic spices like asafoetida (hing) and dried red chillies are used to enhance the overall flavour profile, creating a harmonious blend that complements the fenugreek.

Dageth haak

Made with mashed collard greens, this quintessential recipe is often made a part of Wazwan platters. Dageth Haak is known for its robust, earthy flavour and is typically cooked with minimal spices to let the natural taste of the greens shine through. The dish is highly nutritious, rich in vitamins A, C, and K, iron, calcium, and dietary fiber, making it an essential part of the local diet. Dageth Haak is commonly served with rice or maize-based dishes, enhancing its role as a staple food in the region's culinary landscape.

Monje Haak

Monje Haakh features knol khol, also known as kohlrabi, which is a type of turnip-like vegetable that is widely used across the country. The dish is known for its simplicity and the way it highlights the natural flavours of the kohlrabi. Typically, both the bulb and the greens of the kohlrabi are used in this preparation. The kohlrabi bulb is peeled and chopped, while the greens are thoroughly washed and cut into pieces.

The cooking process of Monje Haakh is straightforward and preserves the nutritional content of the ingredients. Mustard oil is commonly used, giving the dish a distinctive flavour and aroma characteristic of Kashmiri cooking. A key component in the preparation is the tempering with hing and dried red chillies, which impart a subtle heat and complexity to the dish.